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Shooting stars will light the night sky this summer


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jul. 28, 2020 - 5:48 PM

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Shooting stars will light the night sky this summer

The Newnan Times-Herald

By MORGAN CRUMBLY

Early this morning, a meteor shower graced the dark sky, as the Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaked just before dawn.

About 20 stars per hour appeared in the sky, moving at a pace of 41 kilometers per second, according to www.forbes.com .

The shower occurs 45 degrees from the constellation of Aquarius. Astronomers believe that the Delta Aquariids shower is caused by the comet 96P/Machholz, which orbits the sun every five years.

The Delta Aquariids Meteor shower runs from July 12 until Aug. 23. According to the American Meteor Society, because the shower peaked this morning, there will be a high rate of meteors for the next week. AMS added that Delta Aquariids tend to be faint and lack both persistent trains and fireballs.

The Delta Aquariids was discernible this morning because the moon sank in the west after midnight, so moonlight did not interfere with the visibility of the shower.

This morning was not the last chance to watch shooting stars this summer.

The Perseids meteor shower will also peak this summer. According to Forbes, this shower is the most well-known and loved of them all. It will run from July 23 through Aug. 20. The peak dates are Tuesday, Aug. 11 and Wednesday, Aug. 12.

The best time to see the shooting stars from the Perseids shower is an hour or two before dawn on the peak dates or a few days before. Showers are most visible in as dark a night as possible without any white light in the line of sight.

Optical aids like binoculars or telescopes actually make it harder to view the meteor showers, and it is best to just rely on the eyes.

NASA recommends finding an area away from city or street lights with a sleeping bag. “Lie flat on your back and take in as much of the sky as possible.”